With the Sydney Opera House, Bondi Beach and the Great Barrier Reef around, it’s no wonder Oz wins over travellers.
However, if you’re looking for more unusual things to do in Australia, take a look at this handy list. They’re all travel-tested, by me, and they’ll all add an extra slice of depth and adventure to a trip Down Under.
So, without further ado, here are 7 unusual things to do while you’re in Australia.
“On the arid cliffs at Nourlangie and Ubirr, swirls and brush strokes create two-dimensional figures in globular white and flat ochre that splash upwards along the curves of the rock.”
Kakadu has some pretty impressive statistics under its cork-hat. 10 000 species of insects. 2000 plants. 290 birds. 68 mammals. And more than 120 reptiles.
Of which there is only one that holds the record. The record for size. The record for aggression. And the record for living here unchanged for nearly 200 million years.
The crocodile. But he’s not the only draw. There’s aboriginal rock art and stunning landscapes aplenty in one of my favourite wildlife spots in the world: Kakadu National Park.
Mindil, a sandy beach on the edge of Darwin, hosts the Beer Can Regatta each year and has done since 1974.
What began as a good time for the lads with beer, cans, and wet T-shirt competitions has matured into an all-out family affair. Today you’ll find sandcastle contests, soul singers, hand-made butterflies and scented soap for sale.
Plus thong-throwing competitions (it’s a flip-flop, guys, I promise.)
Primarily, of course, you’ll find boats. And they’re essentially made from beer cans.”
Take a curious, bespoke bar crawl of Sydney – and uncover its gangster past…
Back in the Razorhurst of the 20s and 30s, sly grog progressed to cocaine as an industrial pursuit and in the absence of firearms, razors became the tool of choice for gangsters who needed to go about their daily killing business.
Roll through the years and another piece of legal gymnastics is putting the Darling back into Darlinghurst. Apparently, licensing laws have changed again, making it easier for small bars to compete with the larger chains that until now have characterised the Sydney bar scene.
And so the circle is complete. On the streets where hidden bars and fake laundries used to sell liquor, hidden bars and fake laundries once again sell liquor. The only difference is that this time it’s legal and the razors have gone.
The road, the Great Ocean Road, may swoop around the coastline like a luxury car ad run wild, but as impressive as it is, there are still some places it doesn’t reach.
For that, there’s the Great Ocean Walk, a 100km or so path that takes around a week to complete. Think koalas, kangaroos and a whole lot of fun.
Melbourne likes to describe itself as the most European of Australian cities but what does that mean?
The cafes. The coffee. The beautiful boutique shops and bars, narrow streets, arcades of patterned glass and stacks of pastel-pink sugar-dusted French macarons.
And the best way to find them, is through one of Melbourne’s Hidden Secret Tours.
Magnetic termite mounds. It’s not the sexiest of word combinations but the reality is pretty striking.
Yes, OK, so Bondi isn’t unusual. But trying to surf and discovering that you actually can is most definitely unusual. Especially if you’re me.
So, even if you’ve had no success whatsoever in colder climes such as Wales or Cornwall, don’t despair.
There’s something about the warm weather and threat of sharks to focus the mind.
Sign up to a morning’s course with Let’s Go Surfing and chances are you’ll be surfing by the end.
Disclosure – some of these activities I paid for myself and some were hosted because I was reviewing them. None had the right to get mentioned because otherwise that would be, well, deeply unpleasant.
Hi, I'm Abi, a doctor turned writer who's worked with Lonely Planet, the BBC, UNESCO and more. Let's travel more and think more. Find out more.
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